Arsenal v AC Milan – Preview provided by Anton Ebdon

This match should be an opportunity for the players to make up with the fans after being thrashed in the first leg of this tie. I don’t think that anyone at Arsenal dares to think about overturning the four-goal deficit against Milan.  However, there was a precedent in 2004, when Deportivo La Coruna managed to progress after losing the first leg at San Siro (4-1), winning the second leg with 4-0, a score that would allow Arsenal to take this tie into extra time. If we analyze the first leg than we should see how unrealistic the assumption of an overturn is, Milan showed great maturity managing to build up a comfortable advantage without giving Arsenal the chances to create any damage on the counter attack. I can’t remember when I saw such a poor performance from Arsenal. Arsene Wenger has some injury issues, but the probable lineup looks good in my opinion. Mikel Arteta would be the most important absence, he was taken to hospital with a concussion during the Gunners clash with Liverpool, Abou Diaby also suffering an injury later in the game. Ramsey and Benayoun are also likely to miss this match.

Milan confirmed their excellent form by destroying Palermo in the last league game, the Rossoneri won by the same scoreline they beat Arsenal in the first leg with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring a hattrick. Combine that result with Juve’s draw against Chievo and you have Milan leading the pack with a 3 point advantage over Juventus, although the Bianconeri could make up the difference with a midweek victory against Bologna. It was still a great weekend for Milan. Allegri’s men have not done great away from home in the UCL this season, they recorded three draws despite playing against Bate Borisov and Plzen in the group stage. Alexandre Pato will not make the trip to London after picking up a hamstring injury in the first leg while Ambrosini is out due to suspension.

AC Milan has been knocked out at this stage of the CL in each of the last four seasons, but it seems like there won’t be a fifth, they surely did enough in the first leg to earn a ticket to the next round. I’m not sure if I should say something about this match in terms of which team will progress, I’d say that the fate of the tie has already been sealed, but let’s not take away the charm of a clash like this, I’m sure it will have all the ingredients of a great match. Arsenal hasn’t been shy with scoring goals lately, they’ve overturned a two goal deficit against Tottenham at Emirates and made another comeback at Anfield to collect all three points from the away trip to Liverpool, so I imagine they have the confidence to go out there and try to score as many as possible, but I’m afraid they would lose their enthusiasm if Milan scores early on. I’m going with over 2.5 on this – which nota bene I wanted to post as a paid tip, but you folks deserved a free tip as well – it’s a no brainer really, the guards should be down, there is nothing to defend for Arsenal so I imagine they’ll risk a lot and try to make a good impression in what is likely to be their last match in the competition. Hopefully it will be also a “goodbye” with a win for Arsenal side.

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